One lonely bedbug, looking for a friend. | Photo via halloweencostumes.com.
Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:
Have you heard about the Erie County Courthouse bed bug infestation? If you’ve been awake in Erie at any point since Wednesday, chances are you have. Here’s a sampling of the headlines:
A murder trial put on hold? That’s high priority stuff. I mean, it’s a short list of things that could force that, right? We must be talking about a metric ton of bedbugs. One other thing that conveyed some urgency: they were already in the courtrooms that day. Sitting there amongst the bed bugs. Despite no one reporting any itching or anything, everyone went home early.
The more I type “bed bugs,” the more I want to itch my entire body. You try it. I bet you’re getting itchy just sitting there. Look at you, just sitting there itching.
Back to the story. After everyone was sent home Wednesday, an exterminator came in to battle the plague. When he did, he found a gazillion – no, a few thousand – wait, sorry, I mean one single bed bug.
Wouldn’t you love to know how a fake bed bug infestation rumor gets started? Maybe now is a good time to mention that by “one” bed bug, they probably mean zero bed bugs. Turns out, someone thought they saw one of those little bastards in a bin you put your keys into before the metal detector.
They flushed the critter but no one was sure if it was a bed bug or just, you know, a bug. That’s when the paranoia set in. What about the bin that thing touched? How do we know that was the only one? What if everyone that touched that bin now has bed bugs and is carrying them all through the building? Oh God if we don’t act now they’ll take over the world by sundown let’s send everyone home early!
That combination of fear and paranoia did the unthinkable: it sent a government office into rapid response mode (I suppose a cynic could argue these employees were motivated by the thought of going home early – but I’d never suggest such a thing). Whatever the reason, someone called the exterminator before the mystery bug even realized that joyride around the toilet would end in his own untimely demise. No one ever thinks of the bug.
So in the end, there was no bed bug apocalypse. The panic only resulted in one insect getting a swirly. This week’s good news is the absence of bad news. Now, get back to work.